The bigger the hailstone, the more harm they’ll cause. Hailstones can vary in size, and, coupled with other circumstances such as storm duration, climate, and size of the stones themselves, they can be the root of many home maintenance issues. For example, hail damage can look like cracks and dents on roofs, dislodged or broken shingles and roof tiles, and damaged gutters and drainpipes, often leading to wider issues such as lessened resale value or water damage. Often, only hail that is the size of a quarter (about 1 inch) or bigger will cause damage to your roof.
What Determines the Size of a Hailstone?
Hailstone size can vary for a number of reasons. Typically, stones are measured by a ruler but are most often measured by comparison to other, more known, and readily available objects, such as food, currency, and spherical objects.
The climate in Colorado specifically tends to harbor harsher winters and storms, with the average temperatures for the winter months being around 10F to 30F. The climate of the state also lends itself to seasons filled with strong winds, snowfall, thunderstorms, and hailstorms, as well as having a defined “hail season” usually from mid-April to late August. The landscape in Colorado can vary from flat lands to mountains, which can bolster wind speeds, and, in turn, can increase the severity of hailstones that are caught in their draft. Additionally, there have been more reports of larger stones being seen in Colorado than in previous years, with stones getting to sizes that are breaking state records.
Hailstones can vary based on where they fall and what time of year it may be. Seeing as the climate of Colorado can aid conditions for larger stones to manifest and fall, it can largely depend on where you live as to what size stone you may find yourself facing. The windier areas of Denver, Boulder, and Lafayette can all call for severe storms.
Any storm that produces hailstones is labeled as a hailstorm. Pieces of hail are typically layers of ice, often uneven and clumped together, coming in different sizes and falling at varying speeds.
The damage caused by hail can be largely affected by how long the hailstorm itself lasts. If a hailstorm only lasts a few minutes, with hailstones that size of one inch or less (for example, the size of a pea to a penny), then it’s relatively unlikely that any long-lasting, severe damage would be caused. However, if a hailstorm was to last, for example, around fifteen minutes, with hailstones the size of an inch or larger (think of the size of a quarter coin to the size of a grapefruit), then there would very likely be sustained and serious damage caused.
The frequency of storms can also be a factor in hail size. If hailstorms are frequent – even if the stones themselves are of a smaller size – then the damage caused could be more serious than you might first think.
The speed at which hailstones fall, or their terminal velocity, can vary for many different reasons. For example, due to size and shape and how aerodynamic a piece of hail is, it may fall slower or faster than other pieces, which would alter the overall impact upon reaching the ground. Similarly they may lose some mass if falling through strong winds and colliding with other hailstones, or falling through a warmer climate and melting before reaching the ground.
Hail is a form of solid precipitation. Precipitation is anything that falls to the ground from a cloud, such as snow or rain, as part of the water cycle. Hailstones are clumps of ice layered together, usually amassing into an uneven, spherical shape, ranging anywhere from the size of a pea to the size of a grapefruit (about ¼ of an inch to 4 inches in diameter). This is different from the formation of sleet or ice pellets, which primarily fall in the winter months and are considered softer than hail as they’re primarily “frozen raindrops” or “wet snow” rather than layered, hardened ice.
The Impact of Hail Size, Speed, and Angle
Hail size often varies for a number of different reasons. Smaller hailstones are not often a threat to property, environment, or life; however, larger stones could potentially cause long-lasting and severe damage or even injury and death to both humans and animals.
Hailstones are often likened to more accessible objects when discussing size. For example:
- Pea (¼ inch)
- Penny (¾ inch)
- Quarter (1 inch)
- Ping-Pong Ball (1 ½ inch)
- Golf Ball (1 ¾ inches)
- Tennis Ball (2 ½ inches)
- Baseball (4 inches)
- Grapefruit (4 ½ inches)
Hail Speed and Angle
Hail becomes more dangerous when emboldened by other natural occurrences. For example, the wind speed in Colorado is often between 10 and 16 kph, and this, coupled with the steep angles of hills and buildings across the state, can make the impact of a falling hailstone much more unsafe, especially when they are on the larger end of the scale. Since Colorado often has higher windspeeds than other states and has a recognizable hail season, the individual pieces of ice can have a higher chance of causing damages and injuries by their terminal velocity being much more severe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Pea-Size Hail Damage a Roof?
If pea-sized hail (about ¼ inch) is extremely consistent over a period of time, then it may cause some minor damage, such as sitting between shingles and melting or creating very small divots. However, this is quite small-scale and often not too worrisome unless seriously prolonged.
Can Quarter-Size Hail Damage a Roof?
Quarter-size hailstones are usually around an inch in size and are considered the starting benchmark for large pieces of hail. Anything this size or above can cause genuine and serious damage, especially when coupled with other factors such as high wind speed, frequency, and steep angles of descent.
Need to Repair Your Hail Damaged Roof? Contact Scott’s Roofing Colorado!
Hail can be largely unpredictable and difficult to manage, as there are a huge number of factors that can alter its impact during and after it falls. If unprepared for, hail can even be considered dangerous. If you’re worried about potential or current hail damage to your property, whether that’s business or residential, then Scott’s Roofing Colorado can help.
With multiple locations in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, and Lafayette (and more!), each with a dedicated team who you can trust, you can rest assured that your business or home will be in safe hands despite the more treacherous weather that Colorado has to offer.
Contact us for more information on how to best protect your Colorado property from hail.